CFD 549 – Innago Creator On Building A Software Company

Dave Spooner is a co-founder of Innago, a property management software designed to simplify life for small to mid-sized landlords. He has been involved in the real estate technology space for the last 5 years, working to enhance the way landlords and tenants communicate. In addition to his expertise in content marketing, Dave utilizes his experience with entrepreneurship and management to help landlords achieve sustained success.  

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is Dave Spooner? 

Before getting involved in entrepreneurship Dave was a History and English major in college. The process of putting together his thesis was his first encounter with entrepreneurship and where he got the bug of trying to build something yourself. No matter what industry you’re in being an entrepreneur takes a lot of work and effort, but once you have the bug you can’t turn away from the path.

Dave was actually surprised himself when he chose to be an entrepreneur, but there is a lot of overlap with people who are going through the process of education and looking for unique experiences and entrepreneurs.

Dave’s first venture was really the piece of scholarship he was putting together for his thesis. It involved applying for grants and research, as well as negotiating. 

  • Creating a Software Business

Creating software is a difficult proposition, even when it goes to market you will have to constantly modify and fix it. Even features that are specifically asked for will end up being the wrong things to include and need to be scrapped or fixed. One of the keys to Dave’s success with Innago is listening to not just his customers and what they want, but also the customers who said no.

The beauty of software development is that it is constantly changing and for Dave that means he gets to take on different challenges everyday. There is always something new to learn which is something that Dave really enjoys.

Similar to Google, the origin of the name Innago was designed to create a sense of simplification and ease. 

  • Why should a landlord choose Innago?

The ease of use is the main feature of Innago. There are other options available but they are extremely complicated and difficult to use. For one of Innago’s major competitors they actually have people on LinkedIn who claim to be experts in the software, and for Dave that is exactly what he wants to avoid. 

Once they started building out the platform Dave realized that the other major barrier to entry was cost, so they decided to make Innago free to use. The only costs involved are paid for by the applicant/tenant. When a potential tenant applies they have to pay for a background check, and the second way Innago makes money is by taking a small percentage of the rental transaction. 

What Innago is meant to do is to automate the things that are basically data collection and other tasks that you as the business owner aren’t required to be involved in. It puts everything in one simple, easy to access place so that you can make better decisions about your business.

One of the biggest challenges that landlords face is that real estate laws are different in each state and within each sector each landlord does things differently. Flexibility was another major focus in designing the software so that it could serve other sectors like short term rentals that are underserved.

  • Building Your Software Company

The main benefit to entrepreneurs is that we are blissfully ignorant of exactly how much work is involved in building a business and getting a product to market. For a software business, it is completely crucial to have someone on the team that has the technical skills to create the product, it’s not something you can outsource. 

  • Dave’s Takeaway

As you’re preparing to take on the challenge, make sure you’re doing it in a way that allows you to learn and grow, because not every venture will succeed. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, just that you should improve while you’re at and can do better next time. Make sure you are constantly learning everyday, that way you are getting enough value to make sure the venture is successful either way.

Links:

https://innago.com/

https://www.facebook.com/InnagoSoftware/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/innago/

https://twitter.com/innagosoftware?lang=en

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